Football Alive

Expansion set for the same Capital cities at expense of the regions

A-League expansion is a hot topic and one where all A-League fans have an opinion, 90% believe the competition must be expanded, consensus on who should gain the franchises however is a much more heated debate.

The idea of franchises themselves could be a nonstarter should a normalising committee be put into place and a second division established, under these circumstances, a meritocracy would take precedence over the flashy drawings and promises of untold millions themselves linked to demographic expectations.

We have seen in Melbourne 3 new bids come to the fore and it is hard to believe that at least one of them will not be successful. Melbourne has a huge and rapidly expanding population, the urban sprawl shows no signs of abating. Unlike Sydney which is hemmed in by Mountains, Ocean, National Parks and Holdsworthy barracks, Melbourne is set to continue to grow, especially in its west. 

There certainly is a market for another team, it is just a shame that team isn’t South Melbourne Hellas, a club for all of its oft spoken ethnicity has more to do with the game in Australia then any other. South Melbourne is of course not a growth area, Port Phillip Bay makes sure of that. But the South is an affluent, cosmopolitan, multicultural and historical area none the less which would be a massive asset for the A-league.

Another area which has little room for growth other than by stealing the juniors and fans of another old NSL team looks likely to take the other franchise. Southern Expansion which is hands down the most rotten name this side of the Football Kingz looks favourite to take the other spot from the Wolves.

Wollongong Wolves like Hellas are a fantastic club built in the era where ‘Soccer’ was very much a niche sport. The Illawarra has many communities who came to cheer for this club not with one particular ethnic affiliation but with the pure love of the game. The district which gave us Johnny Warren, Scott Chipperfield and Mile Jedinak deserves a team, not a portion of one.

Again, Football is copying the template left by Rugby league, in this instance the St. George Illawarra Dragons, itself a merger of 2 teams that in truth amounted to a takeover. Southern Expansion wants the juniors and supporters and also to kill off a rival bid with its own bid. The idea that Southern Sydney needs a club at the moment is fanciful so it is hedging its bets.

In truth, the Wolves should never have been left out of the A-league,they had some amazing Grand Finals and with the exception of Morwell and possibly Newcastle were drawn from the smallest city in the NSL. They continually punched above their weight and were a model Football club, they produced their own juniors, had no ethnic affiliations, owned their own rectangular ground and won trophies.

That they were excluded from the original cartel of clubs is perplexing, that they may well be overlooked for a club that doesn’t yet exist is even worse.  I hope that expansion does go through, there must be some new teams in the competition to add firstly more opportunities for young Australian Footballers and also to jazz up am increasingly tired format.

But instead of looking forward to inventing teams with dumb names that exist on didgital prints being backed by people who have never reared their heads near Football in the past, we could do a lot worse than reinstating 2 pillars of Old Football. They would be the first olive branch to heal the rift and their long suffering supporters would fill their stadiums with colour and community which has been sadly forgotten by our games administrators. 

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